"Give me liberty or give me death"
These glorious words, uttered in 1775 by Patrick Henry, are considered to be among the most powerful in our nation’s history, having incited many liberty-hungry colonials to join the Revolutionary War.
The deeper meaning of these words came to their ultimate fruition a year later when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Everything Henry and his compatriots wanted became a reality as the New World was able to sever its ties from the rule of England. Liberty was achieved.
Henry’s words and everything they begat resonate just as strongly now as they did back then, if not more so. The independence we achieved 240 years ago to this day has over time taken on a different and higher meaning. Not only did we gain an independence from England, but we also gained an independence from the shackles of oppressive rule right here in our homeland.
Many, like this columnist, rail against various forms of federal heavy-handedness, but true oppression has been a complete unknown to Americans since July 4, 1776, because the United States is unique in the fact that in its truest essence our government does not control us, we control it. Through what has been granted by a republic style of rule we are given the powers of voting and participative politics whereby we our voices can be heard through all levels of government. In our nation, every voice matters and is deserved of being heard.
This political independence has manifested itself in nearly limitless personal independence. The laws we have created and the rights we have codified have granted us the liberty to do virtually what we want, when we want, and where we want. We have the liberty to pursue our own economic endeavors. We have the liberty to speak our minds. We have the liberty to do with our lives what we so desire. Each and every one of us here in America ultimately controls our own destiny and we are held back only by our own personal limitations and wants. This amazing brand of liberty makes America a veritable Heaven on Earth.
It’s a great gift, this declaration of inalienable rights, because the citizens of most other nations are not so lucky. In their countries their destiny may be controlled by despots or rigid systems that stifle the power of the singular voice. These unfortunate souls end up being sheep, going through the motions and living under regimented rule where their roles in society are defined and their independence is stifled. They find their lives lacking in personal freedom. To them, liberty is something they’ve never tasted, something they desire, and something they may never achieve.
So, please reflect upon the wonders of our liberty as you go about enjoying today’s activities and celebrating the freedom we gained on this very day. Revel in what the United States of America represents. It is the most amazing nation in the world. Our citizenship in this great country rewards all of us with the treasures of personal independence.
This truly is the sweet land of liberty.
From the 04 July 2016 Greater Niagara Newspapers